The severity of the ongoing Omicron outbreak in China has cast a stark light on the ongoing possible effects of the virus on an unvaccinated population.
President Xi Jinping signalled on Thursday that the "dynamic clearance" policy to contain the outbreak would not be ditched.
HONG KONG, March 18 Reuters - Hong Kong reported about 20,000 new coronavirus cases on Friday as health experts called for a clear way out of a "zero COVID" policy that has left the city isolated.
Its borders have effectively been sealed since 2020, with few flights landing and fewer transit passengers permitted, denting Hong Kong's reputation as a global hub.
While the rest of the world faced the virus with a combination of vaccines and natural immunity, seeing the death rate from Omicron far lower than previous variants in most countries, Hong Kong doggedly held on to measures designed to stop the spread entirely.
Meanwhile, this week, 11 flights were banned from airlines including Cathay Pacific, Emirates, Qantas, and KLM, according to government records.
Its tally of infections is more than 1.
Swimming pools and beaches remain shut, frustrating many athletes, while bars, nightclubs and saunas are still closed, with many of them battling to stay afloat, and others on borrowed time.
Many of the recent deaths are due to a large proportion of elderly people being caught unvaccinated after living in a relatively virus-free city for two years before the Omicron variant emerged.
Description: Foreign travellers will be subject to the same procedure as residents, the government said.